Battery 2, Hammerheads 1
At halftime of a scoreless tie, Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser told his players that if they could just get a shot on target, they would score a goal.
It took nearly the entire game, but the Battery did just that, scoring two goals in nine minutes to come from behind and beat the Wilmington Hammerheads, 2-1, at Blackbaud Stadium on Thursday night.
With Charleston trailing late in the crucial USL Pro American Division match, Brandon Massie tied the match at 1 for the Battery in the 81st minute, and Dane Kelly put the Battery ahead for good with a goal in stoppage time.
With the match tied, Charleston kept pushing for a winning goal and got it when Kelly headed the ball over the hands of keeper Kyle Polak. Defender Colin Falvey served the ball into the box, allowing Kelly to beat the keeper for the header.
“The keeper was a little scared coming up to the ball, and he didn’t come hard and it went right by him for the second goal,” Anhaeuser said.
The match wouldn’t have ended so dramatically if Charleston had been able to capitalize on its numerous first-half chances.
In the first 45 minutes, Charleston had several quality opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net but was unable to capitalize, sending several shots over the crossbar and not picking up loose balls in the box.
That prompted Anhaeuser to spend the halftime break stressing the importance of making the goalkeeper work.
“Sometimes you get lucky with what you say, and they put in the rebound,” Anhaeuser said.
Massie’s equalizing goal came off a long rebound from Polak that Massie scooped up inside the box and shot into the left corner.
Wilmington took the initial lead in the 76th minute, when midfielder Manny Guzman headed the ball in from a corner kick.
“They got the goal and you could see our heads just go down, because we had them under pressure,” Anhaeuser said.
Anhaeuser said winning by that score line is a great result.
“Everybody, even the players, has been saying we can’t (score goals). But this shows that we can do that,” Anhaeuser said.
Charleston moved to 9-6-4 (31 points), and Wilmington dropped to 8-5-3 (27 points).
Charleston keeper Andrew Dykstra made a diving save late in stoppage time to preserve the win for the Battery.
The Battery’s next match is July 23 at Dayton of the USL Pro National Division.
Tickets for Charleston's exhibition match against Portsmouth on July 27 at Blackbaud Stadium are on sale. Tickets start at $20. For more information, call 971-GOAL.
-- Midfielder J.C. Mack was out of the lineup with a foot injury.
--The Battery's next home game will be July 30 against the Rochester Rhinos.